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So I started playing guitar about a year ago. I started playing left handed with a pretty cheap Mainstreet guitar. I've gotten halfway decent with it, but now I see how expensive some left handed guitars are and how some right handed guitar models don't even exist as left handed.

I just bought a Jackson JS32T King V (right handed) and I want to retrain myself to play right handed so I don't break the bank. Is there anyone who has had a similar experience who can give me some tips?

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    Any electric can be made left handed with a nut replacement by a guitar tech. Beyond that, an open ended request for tips is a bit broad. Can you narrow this down to any specific concerns? Having played around with off-hand guitar for several weeks, I would predict it will be quite a challenge and you might rather spend the money on a nut replacement or more expensive guitar. – Todd Wilcox Jan 21 '17 at 7:01
  • Check out the answers to this similar question (music.stackexchange.com/q/36449/16897) and you might get some good insight from the answers to this one as well (music.stackexchange.com/q/43638/16897) – Rockin Cowboy Jan 22 '17 at 0:11
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Another option to consider, as a left hooker, is to buy a right-handed guitar, and just play it upside-down. It certainly worked for Albert King, and Jimi, too, played on guitars that were simply r.h. but flipped. It's certainly worth a try - if your left fingers work well - better than your right - then it's a good option; when you borrow someone else's (almost inevitably) r.h. guitar, you will still be able to play and impress! The vib bar may take a bit of getting used to - or take it off. And since you've already spent some money, and have experienced fingers, why not give it a go?

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I have experienced the same as you, although I thought it was too late for me to learn how to play like a right handed. I wish I had learned that way from the beginning. It's annoying every time you go play with some right handed friends and you're not carrying your guitar. That has happened to me a lot, so at the end I have managed to learn how to play the chords (the same way I would play my left handed guitar, but the strings are upside down).

My advice: keep trying learning like a right handed. It has more advantages than only saving some money.

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Well I also have a very similar story. Being a natural lefty, I started off playing a common right handed guitar in an upside down orientation. And yes I did not make any changes in the strings. So basically a down strum for me meant EBGDAE rather than the usual EADGBE. So I started strumming in the opposite direction. For e.g. a down-down-down-down pattern for me was up-up-up-up. And naturally all the chord shapes for me were in upside down positions. I continued with this practice for about 6-7 months during a period in which I matured from an absolute newbie to an advanced beginner kind of a player.

This has been my story till now but now I am seriously contemplating changing over to a usual right handed guitar player. Over a period of time with increasing guitar maturity, I have somehow started feeling that this upside-down method of playing is presenting more obstacles than advantages. While it feels natural for me to play it this way and that's why I started off this way as a newbie , there have always been adjustments that I had to make while learning. For e.g. most of the online guitar lessons worth following are primarily for right handers with sometimes a fleeting mention for left handers. The chord shapes are all reversed and this starts getting troublesome as more complex ones start coming in. For example, I could easily manage with the mirror images of major A,D,E,G,C chords and many minor ones as well but then when I came across chords like B7, C7 Gsus, it was simply beyond me to achieve the mirror images of those shapes with my fretting hand. In some cases I could barely manage with my pinky finger on the thickest string but that is not ideal. I think these chord shapes have been shaped for a specific hand and using the other hand for them is just a makeshift arrangement which would start falling apart as things get more involved.

I also feel that strumming "upwards" has an inherently different sound from strumming down even when you are hitting the same sequence of string. Maybe it the gravity assisting the downward motion or the physiological structure of our hand muscles, I don't know but I have a feeling that the sound is different and this difference becomes more pronounced as you advance with your playing skills. And finally the clincher which made me make up my mind to change my "playing handedness" came when I was exploring electric guitars contemplating buying one sometime in future. As I saw, the handedness becomes even more pronounced with electric guitars with all their volume knobs and controls placed in an awkward position for upside down playing. Probably there's an option of dismantling and restringing the whole guitar but that still means that I have to relearn my chord shapes and strumming patterns all over again. So if I have to undergo that change, I'd prefer to go a step further and change my playing and fretting hand as that way I would not be restricted by customized left handed guitars and would have a wide variety of guitars to choose from.

With all that said, changing my playing handedness would still mean that I have to start again as a newbie from scratch. Get all those finger calluses yet again, relearn all the chord shapes, chord changes, strumming patterns. Feels like flushing down the sincere effort that I had put in for the last 6-7 months down the drain. And most painfully, going back from someone who knows to play half-decent guitar to someone who does not.

But I guess it is better to be late than never. For now it's a matter of relearning what I learnt in the past 6-7 months but perhaps it is better than putting in years and then reaching a point of no return.

That was my story but let me emphasize that one must play the way they like the best. After all the ultimate intent is to derive satisfaction from it and it isn't just a mechanical exercise which can be done only in a specified way.

  • It worked for Jimi - both ways. – Tim Dec 30 '18 at 9:09
  • Yes but I think he rewired the guitar so that the thicker string were still on top which is a different configuration from plain upside down wherein the thicker string go to the bottom and the "down" strums have to be done "upwards" rather than "downwards". – sdm Dec 30 '18 at 16:02
  • Yes, the fat E was on the uppermost part whichever way he played. – Tim Dec 30 '18 at 16:49

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